Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Magical history tour: The Beatles as the ultimate team

Andrew Sobel, consultant, author and guitarist, like many in the baby boom generation, holds fond memories of Beatlemania, the rage that swept the United States in 1964 after four plucky lads from Liverpool hit this nation’s airwaves and played on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” But what he recalls most is not the hair-shaking and the mediocre lyrics like “I want to hold your hand” and “yeah, yeah, yeah.” It’s not even the screaming teenage girls.It’s the teamwork.In a strategy+business magazine article titled “The Beatles Principles,” Sobel makes the case that the group was not just the best band of our time, it was also “the most successful team of our time,” surpassing any collection of Fortune 500 go-getters assembled to date. “The Beatles were great artists and entertainers,” he wrote, “but in many respects they were four ordinary guys who, as a team, found a way to achieve extraordinary artistic and financial success and have a great time together while doing it.“Every business team can learn from their story.”Even the television stage setup from the band’s first Ed Sullivan appearance, on Feb. 9, 1964, illustrates Sobel’s theme: Ringo Starr’s drum kit was elevated above the stage, which at the time was an unusual arrangement. The result was that he was “as much the center of attention as the other three Beatles.” (Note to young readers: Their names were John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. And they were pretty good, too.)


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